In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s Nike was interested in breaking into the racing apparel scene. In order to do so, they courted many well-known drivers of the time to test their first products. Michael Schumacher of the Ferrari Formula1 team was at the top of the world standings in those years. Nike designed and gave the renowned German racer an estimated 18 pairs of shoes, one for every race in the season, for over four years. In 2002 competing apparel company, FILA bought the rights for the entire Ferrari team’s footwear. All of the custom shoes were handmade at Nike world headquarters right here in Beaverton, Oregon. When Schumacher switched over to FILA, he requested that Nike send over a fresh pair of shoes before the season started. Nike, thinking they would continue their relationship with the world champion, made two pairs. The first pair was sent to the Ferrari team where Schumacher requested FILA use their design to make replicas. The second pair was never delivered and sat on a shelf in Beaverton. About 2003 Nike deemed the racing program a flop and decided to exit that business. Through several exchanges the shoes ended up with Schumacher and were signed by the driver. He remarked they were among his favorite to drive in. The Nike Schumacher shoes are at the World of Speed Museum for others to enjoy.
Story and shoes provided by Chris Egger of Pat’s Acres